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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A solitary child, Leonardo's only intimate is Lisa Gherardini, the girl who spies on him in his workshop. Spurned by his tutor, he is sent by his despairing father to Florence as an apprentice. Under the guiding hand of Verrocchio, the master sculptor, he begins to make his name. But success requires sacrifice; Florence demands a level of conformity impossible for him. For ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Granta Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot, thus I knew immediately it deserved four stars. It is historical fiction and it does what I think historical fiction should do. It gets you into the head of the main character, which is here Leonardo da Vinci. In my view, if a reader is primarily looking for historical details and facts one might as well turn to non-fiction. What historical fiction can do and which is often not attainable when relying solely on historical data is to reveal the thoughts, feelings and emotions ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book of the year so far! As a fan of Renaissance Art, I looked forward to reading Gioconda but was not expecting to be so enchanted with it. It drew me in from page one and the momentum didn't let up until sadly, I reached the final page.

Fiction, based around known facts, Lucille Turner has created a beautiful, evocative and sensitive suggestion of Leonardo's emerging genius from his life as a small boy through to his creation of surely, the world's most acclaimed painting. He meet
Drayton Bird
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is an extraordinarily underrated book.

Far, far better written than most historical novels. When I compare it with most of the tripe that sells well it says rather depressing things about the average reader.

And bizarrely, it's about Da Vinci. Not the one in the dopey Code. The real one. And with a very plausible suggestion as to whom the lady with the smile may have been.

If you want to get an idea of what he was probably like, what it was like to live in his
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this novel by Lucille Turner. It's a mixture of fact and fiction, and as no sources are given it's rather difficult to know which is which, unless you are very familiar with Renaissance history and the life of Leonardo da Vinci. A sense of calmness pervades the writing, despite the turbulent era of 15th century Italy, and the author creates a feeling of being at one with nature in her descriptions of the Tuscan countryside and Leonardo's discoveries. I'm glad I found this boo ...more
Paola C
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vale, se hace un poco largo de leer porque la trama avanza lentamente... pero que maravilla de libro. Me ha encantado conocer un poco más de la vida de Leonardo DaVinci! Y es que aunque sea ficción, muchos de los datos son reales y por tanto siento que conozco un poco más la vida de este artista que dedicó su vida a crear (sea en el ámbito que sea).
Un recorrido por varias ciudades Italianas en el siglo XV, un gran artista conocido mundialmente, una chica misteriosa, mucha ciencia... ¿Que m
Haythem Bastawy
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written fictional account of Da Vinci's life. Lucille Turner brought the man to life with his skilful use of present tense narration and extraordinary historical details. I feel like I have got to know Da Vinci after reading Gioconda.
Katie James
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
As a passionate reader of Historical Fiction I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately it fell a little flat. A novel of one of the greatest figures of all time Leonardo Da Vinci, I was expecting it to be full of scandal, dishonor and dilemmas. I wanted to feel Leonardo's frustration trying to explain ‘modern day science’ to the old world. His humiliation of rejection at being a man ahead of his time and an outcast. I wished it to be more ‘meaty'. Regrettably, it didn't meet any of my ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Gioconda is a beautiful novel about Leonardo Da Vinci, mixing between fact and fiction.
Tania Montano
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Más de la inquietante historia de Da Vinci.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting book. Very well written. We get into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci. I realize this is historical fiction, but it reads like a biography. A man full of ideas and ambitions. I expected a bit more from Leonardo's time in Milan.

The main story focuses on the relationship/friendship between Leonardo and Lisa (Mona Lisa), throughout his life and his quest for knowledge. I was intrigued with the explanations of his human dissections, particularly interesting was the dissection involving
Aparna Pipersenia
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author's undertaking of wiring an 'autobiography' of Da Vinci, itself deserves the biggest credit.
Lucidly written and well researched. It sparkles in brilliance in many parts while other parts just guide you along like a stream does (an oft mentioned metaphor in the book) towards those parts.
Leonardo da Vinci is breathed into life once again with a personality and character that most likely was. Through his eyes we walk around his beautiful world, philosophize with him about life
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, children
I got given this in a giveaway and am ashamed to say I have only just read it as it got put on a pile and somehow forgotten.
I wish it was on top of the pile as it is a wonderful book. I could truly imagine myself living in Leonardo's time. There was a lot of information but not enough to drown me in it (when I usually become bored). It helps you see how his mind was way ahead of his time and how difficult he found it he rein in his ideas. It also shows who the famous Lisa could have been.
Anne Bryson
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I very much liked the way this book is written, the language is deceptively simple and keeps the reader captivated.
As an admirer of Leonardo Da Vinci, the subject is one of great interest. I loved the descriptions of childhood curiosity and logic, together with the freedom to explore, creating an image of a very independent thinker. Each era of Leonardos life rang true, however his childhood and later life left a greater impression..
Ulrike Böhm
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wunderbar poetisches Buch über Leonardo da Vinci. Ich habe als Kind schon "Der Zauberer von Florenz" verschlungen, einen ebenfalls fiktiven Roman über seine Kindheit und Jugend, seine Anfänge als Künstler. In beiden Romanen wird entlang des spärlichen Faktengerüsts jeweils der Versuch unternommen, es mit "Fleisch" auszufüllen und damit das größte Universalgenie, das die Welt je hervorgebracht hat, zum Leben zu erwecken.
Marie (UK)
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really well written book which creates a captures a picture of Leonardo da vinci from childhood to man. Turner invests him with a sense of fascination in the world and how it works particularly the human body and throws a light on how he was perceives as mad, bad and dangerous to know. His pursuit of La gioconda and what he does with the painting is so cleverly portrayed.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An historical-fiction of the original Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci. Enjoyable novel with lots of interesting facts about "the genius" and events occurring during his lifetime. Leo's imagined involvement with Lisa Gioconda and his painting of the Mona Lisa was thought provoking; sending me to Google what else I could find out about Gioconda.
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is too short to properly address the subject. However, the many aspects of Leonardo's life, that are not directly covered, are tactfully hinted at. The descriptions of Leonardo's thought process and unique perception of the world are well done. If you liked this book check out "The Agony and Ecstasy".
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed. "Read" this via audio book. Made me want to learn/see more of the doings of Leonardo De Vinci. Very fictional, loosely based, but possible, story a flavour of the background and the person.
Paul Hughes
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
An involving fictional account of Leonardo's life up to the painting of the Mona Lisa. It can be hard to remember that da Vinci was a human like the rest of us. This novel underlines that fact, but also highlights the unique world view of the artist. Recommended.
Svjetlana Tesla
Kako izgleda biti u glavi Leonarda da Vincija,.tragati za znanjem i razumjevanjem kako funkcionise ljudsko tijelo, kako letjeti....knjiga na opusten nacin bez imalo napetosti opisuje njegov zivot,a zavrsava sa cinjenicama kako je on naslikao portret Mona Lize...
May 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Although the subject is interesting - imagining how Leonardo da Vinci grew up and developed his curiosity in all things around him, the style of writing - short sentences - annoyed me in the end.... It felt as if you are constantly 'interrupted' and need to change and adjust your attention.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Lo único que me gustó fue que me dejó con ganas de leer más de Leonardo da Vinci..
Esta lento y medio aburrido, con algunas cosas interesantes de LDD, pero le faltó muchísimo..
Sep 26, 2014 added it
Shelves: read-in-2014
An intriguing look into da Vinci's life. I struggled a bit with the rhythm or something of the narration. I wanted to love this book but only liked it.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Un libro que recrea la vida de Leonardo da Vinci, pero que deja mucho qué desear en cuanto al tema central: su relación con Mona Lisa.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I learned much from this book, I want to go back and underline some favourite bts, but it's a library book. Hmmm, this one mighty be overdue.
Sep 30, 2012 added it
Very readable and enlightening "bio" on Leonardo Da Vinci.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A frustrating ending to an otherwise enjoyable read. I learned so much about Leonardo. Loved all the observations about nature.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Evocative landscape and context. For me, some characters were like Leonardo's inventions - incomplete.
Melissa Ross
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. A fictional story, but it really gave me an insight to the world of Leonardo Da Vinci, the artist.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it

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LUCILLE TURNER’s first book, "Gioconda", was published by Granta Books in 2011 and was described in The Financial Times as, ‘A lush, evocative and remarkably accomplished debut novel’. Gioconda was about the life of Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci; it went on to win the Hislibris prize for historical fiction and was translated into several languages. Her second historical novel, "The Sultan, ...more